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    ENERGY PRICES - Good news, bad news: record profits for TotalEnergies, huge losses for EDF

    July 28, 2022 - Michael Fitzpatrick


      On Thursday, French power company TotalEnergies announced that profits had more than doubled in the second quarter. The national electricity company, EDF, meanwhile blamed a state-imposed cap on energy prices for a record loss in the first six months of 2022.

      TotalEnergies said in a statement that its bottom-line net profit amounted to 5.7 billion euros in the period from April to June, compared with 2.2 billion euros for the same period a year earlier.

      Second-quarter sales were up 37 percent at 75 billion euros.

      "Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued to impact energy markets in the second quarter, with oil prices averaging more than $110 per barrel, refining margins reaching record-high levels, and natural gas prices holding above oil partly in Europe and Asia," said chief executive Patrick Pouyanne.

      "In this context, TotalEnergies responded by increasing energy output, thus contributing to energy security."

      TotalEnergies pay no tax to the French state on their massive profits.

      Runaway oil and gas prices are generating bumper returns across the sector.

      British energy giant Shell also said on Thursday its bottom line increased five-fold in the second quarter.

      . . . and now, the bad news

      French power company EDF meanwhile announced a bottom-line loss of 5.3 billion euros in the period from January to June, compared to a net profit of 4.2 billion euros in the same period a year earlier.

      Sales grew by 67 percent to 66 billion euros in the six-month period.

      "The results for the first half of the year reflect the difficulties encountered in nuclear generation in France and, to a lesser extent, in hydropower generation, as well as the effect of the tariff shield introduced in France in 2022," said chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy.

      -- French government offers 10 billion euros to buy back EDF electricity company The profit slide was largely attributable to "the drop in nuclear output linked to the phenomenon of stress corrosion [in reactor cooling systems], by the impact of the exceptional regulatory measures adopted by the French government to limit the increase in prices to consumers in 2022," Levy said.

      "These events have forced the group to purchase electricity in a context of high market prices," he said.

      The French government has announced its intention to buy back the 10 percent of EDF shares currently in private ownership.

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